There is simply no doubt that Asia is the most highly-frequented destination for travellers from all over. With so much on offer in terms of culture, history and excitement – with natural beauty and religious significance on top of that – this is a part of the world everyone deserves to see.
If you’re planning on heading to Asia on your travels, be sure to keep the following things in mind to make the most out of your experience.
Plan your route in advance
One of the best ways to ensure you make the most out of your Asian adventure happens before you even go. Be sure you have a planned route that accounts for everything you want to see and do on your travels – whether it’s a warm frolic upon the shores of Southeast Asia or an oriental getaway in Eastern Asia, there’ll undoubtedly be something for you.
The wonders of Asia are plentiful yet diverse, and so it’s important you do your research beforehand to discover just which potential destinations will offer you what you want from your travels. Have a loose plan that allows for some changes, so long as you have a general idea of your route.
Embrace the culture
It’s absolutely essential when exploring Asia that you take the time to understand and appreciate the cultures. Most – if not all – Asian countries have very prominent cultures close to the hearts of those that live there, especially in places like Thailand. Their lese majeste laws forbid speaking ill of the king, and they’re so strict that an offence could lead to a 35-year sentence.
But often, the culture isn’t that serious – ignoring it, however, would detract from your experience entirely. Take the time to explore ancient temples, visit museums and interact with locals in every country to discover an authentic insight into the cultural histories.
Explore the major cities
Make sure you take the time to visit a city or two during your trip. From the bustle and energy of Delhi to the futuristic excitement of Tokyo, with vibrant cities such as Kuala Lumpur or Ho Chi Minh City in between, Asia boasts some of the world’s most incredible cities – perhaps a surprise considering how wild and undeveloped the majority of the continent actually is.
All of the cities here offer something very unique, none of them even slightly similar to the next. Be sure to look into what each one has to offer, as well as how easy they are to get to – are they close by your planned route?
Push yourself to the limit
Travelling always provides the opportunity for you to challenge yourself, but Asia offers it in droves. Whether it’s something small – eating a tarantula in Cambodia certainly provides a good story for once you’re home – or a much bigger challenge, such as climbing the Himalayas in Northern India, Asia really does have plenty of opportunities to push yourself to the limit.
If you’re the kind of traveller that loves to seek thrills, enquire once you arrive to see what activities are on offer. From hiking to bungee-jumping, Asia truly does have it all.
Head off the beaten track
Make sure you lose yourself in Asia, too. With so much of the continent being uncharted, with natural beauty reigning supreme, there’s countless spots to consider visiting that are off the beaten track.
With small cities such as Nan in Thailand being rarely visited by tourists, they could be a good idea if you want an authentic experience without being out in the wild. However, if you really are seeking an adventure, consider regions such as the “wild east” of Cambodia or one of India’s many sprawling national parks to get off the grid.
Sample the different cuisines on offer
It’s no secret Asia is renowned for its food. With the majority of dishes being fragrant, rich and tasty, now’s the time to experiment and treat your taste buds to the diverse cuisines you’ll likely encounter. Some dishes are admittedly perhaps hard to swallow – take balut, for example, the duck embryo consumed whole – but the majority of foods are some of the tastiest in the world.
You’ll often encounter signature dishes upon street stalls, too. From pad thai to parathas, Asia has plenty of popular street foods that often come at a surprisingly affordable price.
Be sure to budget carefully
It’s a tip applicable to anywhere you travel, but budgeting is essential in Asia. Despite the prices of nearly everything being low compared to what you may be used to at home, travelling is an expensive hobby regardless.
Consider a daily budget to be able to account for each aspect of your travels. From accommodation to transport, you need to ensure you’re spending the right amount of money on each part of your trip. Make sure you have a good amount spare for those unexpected fees that’ll likely arise, too.
Watch out for scams
Be prepared to haggle. Asia requires it almost everywhere, especially in marketplaces – vendors will recognise you as a tourist and effectively hike up their prices in order to try and get more money from you. Stay aware and cautious, and don’t be fooled.
If you do need to haggle, keep a calm and friendly demeanour throughout the exchange – Asian locals often don’t appreciate any hostility. Be successful in your endeavour and you could cut the costs down to as much as half of the original asking price.
This guest post was contributed by Isabel Leong of Bel Around The World . Images are sourced from my archives.